IPhoto is back working thanks to the younger generation. I thought the cause of the breakdown was too many pictures, but no, ‘it just happens’. We’ve been on the move with little time for writing. Again, need I say it is very different having traveling companions.
• I go where I want on whim v.v. discussing plans ahead of time.
• I walk fast v.v adjusting to the pace of others.
• I walk with an intentional destination in mind v.v. stopping to window shop.
• I have no one to talk with v.v. chatting and pointing out sights.
Being a solo traveler isn’t better, it’s just different. I prefer solo unless it’s with people I love. That’s the way it is this week.
The only solitude I’ve had during these past two days has been my early morning walks while Em and Abby sleep in and catch up on jet lag. This is so fine with me. We have having a wonderful time walking the city, seeing the sights and doing some shopping.
Yesterday we wandered around in the rain, did some preliminary shopping, enjoyed a couple of delicious meals, and took a tour of the Piazza della Signoria. We made reservations to visit the Uffizi and Academia on Tuesday and climb the Duomo on Wednesday.
It is sunny and warm this morning as I sit at one of my go-to cafes and write. Abby repaired my IPhoto program which had somehow failed, but I notice this morning that yesterday’s photos didn’t transferred from my camera to computer. So please accept this blog as my meager way of letting you all know that life is good in Florence. These pictures of last nights dinner ought to suffice.
Wonder # 4 Morning in Florence
Early morning in Florence is the best part of the day for me. I leave my apartment about seven and turn left or right. Left to the Piazza della Signoria, right toward the Duomo.
Today it was right as I headed to the southern door of the Duomo to start my day meditating in one of the chapels beneath Brunelleschi’s dome. I tell the guard ‘La Messa’ and in I go. When Mass starts at 7:30, the silence is over and so I leave for my first cappuccino of the day.
I head toward the Arno, cross the Ponte Vecchio, and continue on to Piazza Santo Spirito and the Cabiria & Ricche Bar. They know me now; as I walk in the door they start my cappuccino and put a brioche vuota on a plate. In I go to the little cafe room where I am writing this now.
In a bit I will be meeting my daughter and granddaughter arriving from Rome at the Santa Maria Novella train station. My week of solitude is about to change into a week of community, joy and love. Very grateful. Who knows how my posting will go?
A random financial report from Florence.
A few years ago I reported:
• Fewer gypsies begging on the streets: they are back!
• Fewer Africans selling pictures, gadgets, and umbrellas: they are back.
• Cappuccino still costing 1.20 euro: standard price now,1.30.
• Across the board, fees for all museums and churches have gone up.
• All restaurants now add a cover or service charge to the bill.
• The charge for food hasn’t gone up. AND, as they say, “You can’t get a bad meal in Italy.” I agree.
Cemeteries have always been a wonder of mine. I recall growing up and playing in one right on the road at the corner of a friend’s house. We made up all kinds of signals to attract cars going by and then would run and hide behind a old tombstone and watch to see if we were noticed.
If I were a kid now, I’d be playing hide-and-seek in the HUGE cemetery that surrounds three sides of San Miniato al Monte. It is no exaggeration to estimate that 100,000, yes, one hundred thousand souls have found their burial rest there. I say rest because from the reverence inscribed on the stones and the uniqueness of the statuary there is no doubt that family members believe it important to give their loved ones a place of eternal, loving rest.
The cemetery opened around 1864 and continues to offer rest in 2019. Family members come to tend the family graves. Whether they leave fresh, or artificial flowers (its difficult to tell the difference) their intention to show their love bursting forth.
I’ve wandered this cemetery on every visit I’ve made to Florence, in all seasons. My sense of wonder never ends; I could take 100,000 pictures and each would be a wonder.
This trip I’m taking a friends suggestion and picking a word to guide my days. My word is Wonder. Since I’ve been to Florence so often in the last ten years, I feel a need to change my focus so that my current visit stays vibrant and novel. New wonders to go along with the old wonders.
Today’s Wonder involved garbage collection on the streets of Florence, where no garbage is to be seen. Instead, subterranean containers are available throughout the city, each labeled to indicate where to deposit organic, recyclable plastics and cardboard, and non-recyclable items. What a wonder to watch the garbage trucks come through and pick up a container, dump it in the truck, return the container, and then move on to the next. Most trucks pick up only one kind of garbage, but I’ve seen bigger ones with separate sections for each.
I took these pictures in the morning when delivery and service trucks of all sorts come to prepare the historic center for the tourists. But I imagine that these trucks are busy all over the city throughout day.
I arrived at my beloved city at 1:30 PM yesterday, which was 7:30 AM in Boston. In 15 hours I had traveled by car (from home), bus (to Logan Airport), plane (to Dublin), plane (to Rome), and train (to Florence). That itinerary does not include airport walking in Dublin or Rome, or street walking to my favorite apartment in Florence.
Flights and train were on time or early; I caught enough naps to take my first Florence walk and enjoy a favorite meal at Fa Fa, my go-to-first-night restaurant.
I chose to take pictures of the crowds that I met on my first Florence walk of this trip. Please don’t let the word crowds scare you; Florence is always filled with tourists and locals. Why wouldn’t you visit a walking city that is safe and filled with museums, historic churches, yummy restaurants, and a bar on every street corner? Actually crowds is a misnomer. How about ‘many people enjoying themselves’? And of course you can always take an early morning walk!
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